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Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

Make busy weeknight dinners a breeze with air fryer BBQ chicken thighs! A simple seasoning blend plus barbeque sauce are the secret behind craveworthy flavor.

air fried chicken thighs on plate

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Short on time but still want to get a yummy dinner on the table for the family?

These air fryer BBQ chicken thighs are so juicy and full of flavor, you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy they are to make!

The seasoning rub uses simple spices that still deliver big on taste.

And brushing the thighs with your favorite BBQ sauce during the cooking process allows the outside to caramelize for an absolutely mouthwatering final result.

Best of all, you can be ready to serve in just 30 minutes!

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • The busy-weeknight-friendly way to make BBQ chicken thighs in the air fryer in about half an hour
  • My recommendations for the best kind of BBQ sauce to use for this recipe
  • Tips and tricks for making the most delicious barbecue chicken thighs in the air fryer
  • What to serve with this tasty dish
  • How to reheat leftover chicken thighs in the air fryer

The air fryer is my favorite way to whip up dinner fast without sacrificing on flavor, and these chicken thighs are such a great example.

Don’t be surprised if this recipe becomes a weekly staple in your household!

Cosori Dual Blaze Air Fryer
ingredients to make air fryer bbq chicken thighs

How to Make Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. 

STEP TWO: Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then rub them with olive oil.

blotting raw chicken thighs

STEP THREE: In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Rub the seasoning evenly over the chicken thighs.

air fryer basket with chicken thighs

STEP FOUR: Place the chicken thighs inside, skin side down.

STEP FIVE: Air fry for 12 minutes. 

chicken thighs in air fryer

STEP SIX: Flip the thighs, then brush them with half of the BBQ sauce. Air fry for 5 minutes.

adding sauce to chicken thighs

STEP SEVEN: Brush the thighs with the remaining BBQ sauce, then continue cooking for 3-8 more minutes until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 

STEP EIGHT: Serve with more BBQ sauce and your desired side dishes.

air fried chicken thighs in air fryer basket

How to Know when Barbecue Chicken Thighs are Done

According to the FDA, chicken needs to cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

How long that takes is going to depend on your make and model of air fryer as well as the size of the chicken thighs.

I always recommend using an Instant Read Thermometer for the most accurate cooking times.

Once the thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a chicken thigh reads 165 degrees F, you’re ready to serve!

What Kind of BBQ Sauce Should You Use For Chicken Thighs?

That is entirely up to you! I have tried this recipe with multiple kinds of barbecue sauce, and they have all turned out mouth-wateringly delicious.

Feel free to grab your favorite brand from the store, or you could make my 2-ingredient BBQ Sauce right at home!

When using store-bought, my favorites are Sweet Baby Ray’s and Stubb’s BBQ Sauce.

ready to serve chicken thighs on plate

Tips for Making the Best Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

  • Pat the chicken thighs as dry as you can. This will help the oil and seasonings adhere better and give you the best results in the air fryer.
  • Make sure you coat as much of the chicken thighs in the seasoning mix as possible for the biggest flavor.
  • Try to lay the thighs in a single layer in the air fryer so they cook evenly. A little overlap is okay, but you don’t want to overcrowd the basket.

What to Serve with Barbeque Chicken Thighs

cutting chicken thigh with fork

How to Reheat BBQ Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the leftover barbecue chicken thighs in the air fryer in a single layer.
  3. Air fry for about 5 minutes or until heated all the way through.

Other Air Fryer Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

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Yield: 4 servings

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

air fried chicken thighs in air fryer basket

Your whole family will fall in love with tender, juicy, and super flavorful air fryer BBQ chicken thighs! This easy recipe is ready in 30 minutes with less than 10 ingredients.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce, homemade or bottled, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and rub them with olive oil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Rub seasoning evenly over chicken thighs.
  3. Place the chicken, skin side down, inside; air fry for 12 minutes. 
  4. Flip the thighs and brush them with half of the BBQ sauce. Air fry for 5 minutes, brush them with the remaining BBQ sauce, then continue cooking for 3-8 more minutes, until cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Serve with more BBQ sauce and your desired side dishes.

Notes

How to reheat bbq chicken thighs:

1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.

2. Place chicken in air fryer basket and cook for 5 minutes or until hot all the way through.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 854mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 31g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

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samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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